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Sir John Tavener’s popularity continues, judging by the number of recordings of his music, especially choral music, that cross my desk. Under a previous Winchester Cathedral master of music – Martin Neary, who provides the exemplary liner notes to this CD – this choir gave many first performances of Tavener’s music and a special bond was forged. On the evidence of this disc, it is a bond that continues to this day, fostered by the current incumbent, Andrew Lumsden. The programme includes the usual suspects, though The Lamb and the Song for Athene are given here in arrangements for high voices by Barry Rose. Lumsden’s forces include girls as well as boys and the honours, with the men, are fairly evenly distributed. The girls are exceptional in the deceptively straightforward Angels. The choral and recorded sound are excellent throughout, with Winchester Cathedral adding just the right amount of resonance. The CD is crowned by a wonderful rendition of the anthems from The Veil of the Temple. Special mention should also be made of organist George Castle’s contribution. There may have been many Tavener choral CDs in recent years, but this one is very special.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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